Planning your brand's PR & media outreach strategy
Avoiding stakeholder “ego-bait” is the key to planning an effective PR &
media outreach strategy for your brand or business.
Preparing to plan your PR & media outreach strategy
When it comes to planning your PR & media outreach strategy, a huge part of the process is defining which outlets will be the best fit for your brand or business. From trade publications, to local news broadcasts, there’s plenty to choose from, but the key is to make sure you’re choosing the right ones.
What are the “right ones”? Well, that will depend largely on your target audience, as well as your key objectives for the outreach. For example, consider a company that is looking to launch a new business software, and this software helps track team members projects while working from home. You may want to target business owners, project managers, investors, etc., and your objective may be to increase traffic to the website; ultimately, increasing lead generation and customer acquisition. Knowing who we are targeting, we can now narrow down the best outlets for this message by understanding where our target audience “hangs out” - or, where & how they prefer to get their news. From here, we can formulate a plan for outreach, targeted at the media outlets and contacts who specifically cover this type of news.
What to avoid when planning a PR strategy
What we don’t want to do, is compile a list of target media outlets based on our ego, rather than our objective. Everyone would love to be featured in Forbes, but is that really the best fit for your message? When planning a PR & media outreach strategy, oftentimes client’s minds will immediately go to big name, well-known publications. They may have a vision of being featured in one of these leading business publications, and think that once that’s done, they will have really “made it”. The truth is, we call this “ego bait” because even though it may make you “feel good”, your brand or business will feel nothing.
For example: we had a client once who was very adamant about being featured in Forbes. From the very beginning, we knew this was one of his “dream outlets”, so even though it was on our list of targets, it wasn’t a priority internally because we knew this type of placement likely wouldn’t bring us any closer to achieving the end goal, which was more traffic to the website. That said, we were able to get this client featured in trade publications, guest interviews on industry-specific podcasts, and so on. Yet still, he continued to push for a Forbes feature. It seemed he simply wouldn’t be happy until he was able to say he had been featured in Forbes.
Finally, one day, it happened. We were able to secure a placement for him as an industry expert in Forbes magazine. The article was relevant to his specific niche, however, the people who were really interested in that niche, were simply not looking to Forbes first for their news and updates. That said, once we pulled backend reports, we were able to show him the unfortunate truth:
A feature in just one of the trade publications garnered over 50 clicks to the company website, and once there, people hung out on the website between two-five minutes. The feature in Forbes resulted in only three clicks to the website, and visitors bounced right back out in less than 30 seconds.
What to consider
The key takeaway here? Don’t be led astray by PR planning ego-bait. Your brand’s PR & media outreach strategy should reflect the objectives of the business as a whole, with a focus on moving the needle forward for the greater good. This does not mean catering your strategy to the ego-driven wants of stakeholders, no matter how much praise it may come with. If there happens to be an intersection between the two, that’s great - everyone wins! However, a single outlet should never be hailed as the holy grail if it really only impacts the “face” of a business.
Looking to align your brand with big name publications and well-known media outlets is not a bad thing, but it definitely shouldn’t be the only thing. A well thought out PR strategy will cover all the bases while simultaneously impacting the business’s bottom line in the best way possible for all involved.